After getting hit with a $500 fine Tuesday for a second violation of the House’s mask mandate, Republican Rep. Brian Mast sought to make the matter about Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s management.
In turn, Pelosi’s office sought to deflect Mast’s malcontention Wednesday, insisting his beef is with the House Office of Attending Physician and the House Sergeant at Arms, not the Speaker.
That leaves the Stuart Congressman facing a $2,500 fine for any future offense, opening the question of whether Mast might magnify a Republican maelstrom over the mask mandate, or get marked as a martyr, a few thousand dollars poorer.
Mast maligned the mask manifesto as “stupid” in a moment on the floor.
“Madam Speaker, as the member designated for the Representative of Florida, Brian Mast, I ask that, given the updated CDC guidance, we all take off these stupid masks,” Mast said, motioning with his mask.
Nope, the Speaker’s office replied.
So far, Mast is one of 10 Republicans cited for violations of the mask rule, though he’s one of only three fined for second offenses. No other Florida Republican members had even been warned yet through Tuesday.
The list of admonished members through Tuesday: Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa and Elizabeth Van Duyne of Texas are the other two who’ve been fined. Reps Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Chip Roy of Texas, Bob Good of Virginia, Louie Gohmert of Texas, and Mary Miller of Illinois have been warned after first offenses.
Republicans blamed Pelosi, and Mast has sought to get out front on that.
“The truth is, from this moment on, Americans must ignore lies and start to listen to scientists. The scientists at the CDC are telling us if you are fully vaccinated, you can go about your life without wearing a mask or physically distancing. So, that’s what I’m doing,” he said in a statement released by his office. “The question people should be asking is, why is Speaker Pelosi not? For her, this has never been about science, it’s always been about power and control over the American people.”
Replied the Speaker’s office: The Office of Attending Physician’s “guidance is for the mask mandate to stay in place until all Members are fully vaccinated. This is consistent with CDC guidelines given Members of the House are not fully vaccinated.”
The Speaker’s office mentioned a CNN survey of who is vaccinated in Congress so far, which was updated Wednesday morning, according to the network. The survey says all 219 Democrats, but only 97 of 211 Republicans are fully vaccinated.
Mast is fully vaccinated, his office insisted.
His name’s not on the CNN list, the Speaker’s office noted.
The Speaker’s Office also pointed out the fine system is magistrated by the House Sergeant at Arms and his staff, “not the speaker.”
Mast’s office’s response: “The CDC’s guidance is ‘fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing.’”